It’s not just radiology. Gen Z residents will be matching in pathology and other specialties, and that means clinical laboratories should be ready to adapt their recruiting and training to Gen Z’s unique characteristics
It’s a big event in medical schools across the nation when it is time for residency programs to match residency candidates with first-year and second-year post-graduate training positions. But this year has a special twist because—for example in radiology—this is the first class of Generation Z (Gen Z) residency candidates to be matched with radiology residency programs.
In their abstract, the authors wrote, “This year, the radiology community will experience the beginning of a generational change by matching its first class of Generation Z residents. To best welcome and embrace the changing face of the radiology workforce, this Viewpoint highlights the values that this next generation will bring, how radiologists can improve the way they teach the next generation, and the positive impact that Generation Z will have on the specialty and the way radiologists care for patients.”
Members of Gen Z are now entering the workforce in large numbers. To recruit high-quality candidates from this generation, healthcare employers—including clinical laboratories and pathology practices—may have to adapt the way they interact with and train these individuals.
Gen Z is generally described as individuals who were born between 1995 and 2012. Also known as “Zoomers,” the demographic comprises approximately 25% of the current population of the United States. They are extremely diverse, tend to be very socially conscious, and can easily adapt to rapid changes in communications and education, according to the AJR paper.
Although the paper deals with radiology, this type of information can also be valuable to clinical laboratories as Gen Z pathologists are poised to enter clinical practice in growing numbers. This marks the beginning of the professional laboratory careers of Zoomers, while Millennials move up into higher levels of lab management, the oldest Gen Xers near retirement age, and Baby Boomers retire out of the profession.
“Gen Z employees bring unique values, expectations, and perspectives to their jobs,” said Paul McDonald (above), Senior Executive Director at staffing firm Robert Half in a news release. “They’ve grown up in economically turbulent times, and many of their characteristics and motivations reflect that.” Thus, clinical laboratories may have to develop methods for recruiting and training Gen Z staff that match the unique characteristics of Gen Z candidates. (Photo copyright: LinkedIn.)
Zoomers Like Digital and Artificial Intelligence Technology
One of the most unique aspects of Gen Z is that they have never lived in a world without the Internet and have little memory of life without smartphones. Zoomers grew up totally immersed in digital technology and tend to be comfortable using digital tools in their everyday life and in the workplace. They lean towards being very open to artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can assist humans in analysis and diagnostic methods.
“This group of professionals has grown up with technology available to them around the clock and is accustomed to constant learning,” said Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director at staffing firm Robert Half in a news release. “Companies with a solid understanding of this generation’s values and preferences will be well prepared to create work environments that attract a new generation of employees and maximize their potential.”
According to the AJR paper, Zoomers learn best by doing, so employers should concentrate on interactive learning opportunities, such as simulations, virtual reality, and case-based methods for teaching the aspects of the job. They are likely to expect digital and blended resources as well as traditional approaches to learning their new job responsibilities.
The paper goes on to state that Gen Z members value diversity, equity, inclusivity, sustainability, civic engagement, and organizational transparency. Their social consciousness and diversity may yield a greater range of perspectives and problem-solving approaches which may bolster their sensitivity to patient-centered care.
“The oldest in Gen Z have already seen a recession and a war on terrorism. They’ve seen politics at its worst. And now they’ve seen a global pandemic and are about to see recession again,” said David Stillman, founder of GenGuru, a boutique management consulting firm that provides insights on how best to connect with Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z, in an interview with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “They are survivors,” he added.
According to the SHRM, “Stillman says Millennials, who preceded Generation Z, were coddled by their parents. He maintains that Generation Z’s parents were more truthful, telling their offspring, ‘You’re going to have a really tough time out there, you have to work super hard,’ which he says created ‘the most competitive generation in the workforce since the Baby Boomers.’”
Gen Z Wants More than a Paycheck, They Want Purpose
The American Journal of Roentgenology paper also states that Gen Z members grew up in a rapidly changing world and tend to be resilient, adaptable, and flexible. They have experienced and witnessed many stressors and navigate these issues by focusing on mental health and a meaningful work-life balance. With respect to a profession, they are searching for more than just a paycheck, and they want a purposeful career where they feel a sense of belonging.
Increase information sharing and transparency to help alleviate fear and anxiety.
Incentivize them by showing them clear paths to career progression.
Make sure they know how their individual contributions matter to the organization.
Motivate them by giving them room for autonomy and experimentation.
Provide specific and constructive feedback.
Harness community and in-person interactions to boost professional collaborations.
Prioritize wellness and mental health.
“Be prepared to spend time with them face to face,” McDonald stated. “They want to be mentored and coached. If you coach them, you’re going to retain them.”
Preparing to Attract Gen Z to Clinical Laboratories
As Generation Z comes of age, more of them will be working in the medical professions. Clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups would be well advised to prepare their businesses by adjusting leadership, adapting recruiting efforts, and shifting marketing to attract Zoomers and remain relevant and successful in the future.
Although sweeping statements about individual generations may be limiting, understanding their unique insights, values, and backgrounds can be helpful in the workplace. With a large amount of Gen Z workers now transitioning from college into careers, it will be beneficial for clinical laboratory managers to recognize their unique characteristics to recruit and maintain talented workers more effectively.
Online reputation management is increasingly becoming a critical function that all providers, including clinical laboratories, must address or risk losing revenue
Recent surveys cite growing evidence that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and online review sites such as Yelp (NYSE:YELP) are swiftly becoming healthcare consumers’ preferred sources for researching doctors, hospitals, medical laboratories, and other medical service providers.
Healthcare consumers are using the Internet to review information
on healthcare providers prior to visits. More important, data show a majority
of Americans share their healthcare experiences publicly online following
visits with providers.
More than half of Americans (51%) reported sharing their healthcare experiences online, an increase of 65% over just one year ago;
Among Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) that number jumps to 70%, a 94% increase over last year;
70% of Americans overall say online ratings and reviews influenced their choices of physicians and facilities;
More than 40% of respondents admitted they researched doctors online even after being referred to them by another healthcare professional.
Healthcare Dive also noted that Millennials are likely to consider online reviews and ratings of healthcare professionals to be trustworthy.
97% of 24- to 34-year-olds report believing
online comments are reliable;
While 100% of the 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed felt
Pathologists and clinical laboratory administrators should
consider the two findings above as evidence that a major change has already
happened in how the younger generations look for—and select—their hospitals,
their physicians, and their clinical laboratory providers. Thus, every
pathology group and clinical laboratory should have a business strategy for
managing the Internet presence of their labs. Failure to do so means that
competing labs that do a good job of managing their Internet presence will be
more successful at winning the lab testing business of Gen Xers (born
1965-1980), Millennials (Gen Y, born 1981-1996), and Gen Z (born 1997-2009).
In addition, the survey discovered that the most important
qualities consumers look for in a doctor are:
Friendly and caring attitudes;
Physicians’ ability to answer questions; and
Thoroughness of examinations.
Those polled reported the most frustrating issues when
dealing with healthcare professionals were:
Office wait times;
Cost and payment concerns;
Wait times for exam and medical laboratory
It’s All in a Word
Earlier this year, Healthcare Dive also reported on research that examined online reviews and their content conducted by Penn Medicine. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania used digital tools and data analytics to help healthcare providers better understand and improve the patient experience.
The researchers analyzed 51,376 online reviews about 1,566
hospitals posted on Yelp over a 12-year period. They published their findings in
of General Internal Medicine (JGIM).
They concluded the word most often found in positive Yelp
reviews was “friendly.” Their example of how positive review writers used this word:
“The doctors, nurses, and X-ray technician who helped me out were all so cool
and friendly. It really restored my faith in humanity after I got hit on my
Other words the researchers commonly found in good online
reviews include “great, staff, and very.”
“Told” was the word most often found in negative reviews. The
researchers’ example: “I constantly told them that none of that was true and
the nurse there wouldn’t believe me.” It appears from the JGIM study
that Millennials often felt healthcare professionals did not listen to them.
The researchers identified “worst, hours, rude, said, no and
not” as other words often found in negative reviews.
Half of Millennials Prefer Internet Research and Online
Another survey conducted by Harmony Healthcare IT, a health data management firm based in South Bend, Ind., found that more millennials are researching the Internet for medical advice in lieu of actual doctor visits.
PC Magazine reported Harmony Healthcare IT’s survey found:
73% of Millennials reported following medical
advice found online instead of going to a doctor; and
93% reported researching medical conditions
online in addition to a doctor visit.
The survey also found that 48% of millennials trust online
resources for medical information and that 48% prefer virtual doctor office
visits over in-person visits.
“With an emphasis on convenience, low cost, and technology, it will be interesting to see how this generation helps shape the future of health and how both patients and providers will adapt to those changes along the way,” Harmony Healthcare IT wrote in a blog post.
The results of these surveys illustrate why clinical laboratories
and anatomic pathology groups must have a social media strategy for managing
their reputations and presence on the Internet, especially where Millennials
That strategy should include easy and informative ways for
patients to learn about medical laboratory services, pricing of lab tests,
quality of work, and methods consumers can use to leave online feedback and
receive responses to their comments.
However, research published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests outpatients with primary care doctors have better healthcare experiences and receive “significantly more” high-value care. These findings come on the heels of a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Tracking Poll which revealed that 26% of 1,200 adults surveyed did not have primary care physicians. And of the millennials polled (ages 18-29), nearly half (45%) had no primary care provider.
Why is this important? High-value care include many
diagnostic and preventative screenings that involve clinical laboratory
testing, such as colorectal and mammography cancer screenings, diabetes, and
And, this is where clinical laboratories can help.
In the Millennial’s World, Convenience Is King
Millennials are Americans born between the early 1980s to
late 1990s (AKA, Gen Y). And, as Dark
Daily reported, they value convenience, saving money, and connectivity.
Things they reportedly do not associate with traditional primary care
According to the KFF poll:
45% of 18 to 29-year-olds,
28% of 30 to 49-year-olds,
18% of 50 to 64-year-olds, and
12% of those age 65 and older, have no
relationship with a primary care provider.
Thus, it’s not just millennials who are not seeing primary
care doctors. They are just the largest age group.
When this many people skip visits to primary care doctors, medical
laboratories may see a marked decline in test volume. Furthermore, shifting
consumer preferences and priorities means clinical laboratories need to reach
out and serve all healthcare consumers, not just millennials, in new and
Consider Changes in
Lab Business Model
Dark Daily advises
clinical laboratory leaders to consider changes in how they do business to
better serve busy consumers. Here are a few ways to appeal to people of all
ages who seek value, fast service, and connectivity:
Offer walk-in testing with no appointments.
Create easy-to-navigate online scheduling tools.
Enable patients to request tests without doctors’ orders as the lab’s market allows.
Make results quickly available and in easy-to-understand reports.
Post test results online for patients to securely access in patient portals.
Make it easy to interact with personnel or receive information through lab websites.
Use social media to promote the lab and respond to online reviews.
Younger Americans Do
Not Perceive Value of Primary Care
The JAMA researchers studied 49,286 adults with primary care and 21,133
adults without primary care between 2012 and 2014. The methodology entailed:
39 clinical quality measures,
Seven patient experience measures, and
10 clinical quality composites (six high-value
and four low-value services).
“Americans with primary care received significantly more
high-value care, received slightly more low-value care, and reported
significantly better healthcare access and experience,” the JAMA authors
Healthcare Dive notes that the JAMA study may be the first time researchers have substantiated the higher value of primary care, which generally provides services for:
Cancer screening (colorectal and mammography),
Diagnostic and preventive testing,
Diabetes care, and
“Poor primary care supply or access may be hurdles, or some
Americans do not perceive the potential value of primary care, particularly if
they are younger … and healthier,” the JAMA
The study found that “Only 60% of outpatient antibiotic
prescriptions dispensed in the United States are written in traditional
ambulatory care settings [defined as medical offices and emergency departments].
Growing markets, including urgent care centers and retail clinics, may
contribute to the remaining 40%.”
A Washington Post analysis of this JAMA study reports that “nearly half of patients who sought treatment at an urgent-care clinic for a cold, the flu, or a similar respiratory ailment left with an unnecessary and potentially harmful prescription for antibiotics, compared with 17% of those seen in a doctor’s office.”
This drives home the importance of having a primary care
“Antibiotics are useless against viruses and may expose patients to severe side effects with just a single dose,” notes Kevin Fleming, Chief Executive Officer of Loyale Healthcare, a healthcare financial technology company, in its analysis of the earlier JAMA study. “Care that’s delivered on a per-event basis by an array of unrelated providers can’t match the continuity of care that is achievable when a patient receives holistic care within the context of a longer-term physician relationship,” he concluded.
Clinical laboratory leaders and pathologists are advised to
regularly engage with primary care physicians—not just oncologists and other
specialists—and keep them informed on what the lab is doing to better attract
millennials and develop long-term relationships with them based on their values.
Gen Z values differ from previous generations’ values and medical laboratory managers should know in advance how members of this generation are likely to view their new workplaces
Medical laboratories managers and pathology group stakeholders have long been concerned about the looming retirement of Baby Boomers working in America’s clinical laboratories. With more and more members of this age group leaving the workforce, and with the following Gen X and Gen Y workers moving into positions vacated by Boomers, the next generation of workers—Generation Z (Gen Z)—is arriving to fill the gap.
This newest, youngest generation brings unique attributes and values to the clinical laboratory industry. Laboratory managers, pathologists, and business leaders need to understand those characteristics to work with them effectively.
Gen Z Values Reflect the Turbulent Times We Live In
With the addition of this newest age group in corporate America, there are now four distinct generations simultaneously working in the marketplace:
1. Baby Boomers (born early- to mid-1940s to early-1960s;
3. Generation Y (Millennials: born mid-1980s to early-1990s); and
4. Generation Z (Centennials: born mid-1990s to the mid-2000s).
A poll conducted by Ernst and Young LLP (EY) of London for the US Oil and Gas industry found that members of Gen Z have “fairly traditional” career priorities, however their values have been shaped by the nation’s struggles.
“When asked which three considerations are the most important in selecting a future career, both Millennials and Generation Z, as whole, prioritized salary (56%), good work-life balance (49%), job stability (37%), and on-the-job happiness (37%),” the EY survey reported.
Even though they are often clumped together with Millennials (Gen Y), recent research shows that the two generations are vastly different.
“Gen Z employees bring unique values, expectations, and perspectives to their jobs,” Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director at staffing firm Robert Half, stated in a news release. “They’ve grown up in economically turbulent times, and many of their characteristics and motivations reflect that.”
Move over Baby Boomers! You no longer are the largest proportion of the population of the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, Generation Z (AKA, iGen and Post Millennials) make up about 25% of the US population or approximately 70-million people. However, it is estimated that by 2021, Gen Z will total 40% of all consumers in the US and account for one-fifth of the workforce. This youngest generation is now entering the clinical laboratory workforce in growing numbers. (Graphic copyright: Oklahoma Minerals.)
Though Millennials represent the largest portion of the workforce in America, Gen Z is the largest population of people overall and it’s growing. The oldest members will have reached the age of 21 in 2016-2017. Many will be graduating from college and seeking employment opportunities.
Gen Z Members are Technically Savvy; Seek Job Security/Stability
Members of Gen Z are familiar and fluent with computers, technology, and the Web. Therefore, business websites and social media presence are things they will examine when researching companies for job opportunities. Living in a world of perpetual updates and real-time communications makes them quick at processing information. Centennials also tend to be first-rate multitaskers, capable of focusing while numerous distractions occur around them.
“This group of professionals has grown up with technology available to them around the clock and is accustomed to constant learning,” McDonald stated in the Robert Half news release. “Companies with a solid understanding of this generation’s values and preferences will be well prepared to create work environments that attract a new generation of employees and maximize their potential.”
Stability and job security seem to be more important for Gen Z than it is for Gen Y. A recent study by staffing firm Adecco found that 70% of Gen Z prefer a stable work environment over one that offers passion, but little security.
“They saw their grandparents have to go back to work or their parents have struggles during the financial crisis,” noted McDonald in a MarketWatch article. “They want to work for companies long-term in their career.”
Where millennials are known to change jobs frequently, a 2015 study conducted by Robert Half found that centennials plan to work for only four companies in their entire careers. The same study also found that Generation Z prefer to work in business office environments instead of working remotely.
Centennials are also more interested in the values and fairness of their bosses and the company mission statements. Equal pay, promotions, and accolades need to be equitable across all genders, races, and other differences. Generation Z is also entrepreneurial and creative and they desire to interact with people in person.
“Be prepared to spend time with them face to face,” McDonald stated. “They want to be mentored and coached. If you coach them, you’re going to retain them.”
Gen Z Politics are Mixed
Generation Z also differs from Millennials in the political arena. In a New York Post column, Jeff Brauer, Professor of Political Science at Keystone College in La Plume, Penn., indicated that Generation Z is liberal on some issues while being conservative on other issues.
“Politically, Generation Z is liberal-moderate with social issues like support for marriage, equality, and civil rights, and moderate-conservative with fiscal and security issues,” Brauer stated. “While many are not connected to the two major parties and lean independent, Gen Z’s inclinations generally fit moderate Republicans.”
Brauer’s research found that members of Gen Z tend to value economic stability and security higher than the previous generation because they have grown up in an era peppered with terror threats, a shaky economy, and mass school shootings.
“This generation is different, and they are about to have a profound impact on commerce, politics, and trends,” stated Brauer in the NY Post column. “If politicians and business leaders aren’t paying attention yet, they better, because [Centennials] are about to change the world.”
As Generation Z comes of age, more of them will be working in the medical professions. Clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups would be well advised to prepare their businesses by adjusting leadership, adapting recruiting efforts, and shifting marketing to attract Centennials and remain relevant and successful in the future.
As they hire young pathologists, pathology groups and clinical laboratories will need to factor in the generational preferences of these Gen Y physicians
Generation Y doctors take a much different approach to the practice of medicine than the Gen X and Baby Boomer doctors who preceded them. It will be important for clinical laboratories and pathology groups serving Gen Y physicians to understand these important differences.
While Gen Y doctors remain just as dedicated to the high standards of medicine as their predecessors, the current crop of young doctors approach the practice of medicine with a much broader world-view than previous generations of physicians, according to a recent story in Modern Healthcare (MH). (more…)